In a practical nursing program, much is emphasized about the scientific delivery of treatments. But perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of being a nurse has been left in the dark by research: the need for compassion. Recently, data published in the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development showed that nursing orientation programs that address both the compassion and scientific sides of patient care help improve patient satisfaction and lower the incidence of falls and pressure ulcers.1
Indeed, the nicer and more accommodating nurses are toward patients, the more effective they can be at their job. Compassion is a necessary component of high-quality medical care in today’s increasingly technological world.
“Nursing orientation typically focuses on hospital-specific policies, equipment use and clinical skills rather than on the emotional connection between nurses and patients,” Dr. Pam Clementi, co-author and nurse manager, Department of Nursing Education, Loyola University Health System, said in a press release.1 “Educating nurses on both the nurturing and technical side of the profession will give them a more comprehensive approach to patient care.”
Following one year of a practicing with a greater emphasis on patient-centered care, quality improvement data showed that patient satisfaction scores rose drastically while the number of falls and pressure ulcers fell in comparison to the old model.
“Nurses are at the front lines of patient care,” Dr. Clementi said in the press release. “Those who have strong clinical skills and who know how to be there for patients in a time of need are invaluable to their profession.”
Concentrate on the patient, not the problem
Empathy is best accomplished if nurses place themselves in the shoes of the patient in an effort to understand the patient’s feelings. Doing this may help the nursing professional understand why the patient chooses a certain therapeutic option. Cure, relieve and comfort should be three pillars of a nurse’s regimen.
In 2011, the Institute of Medicine reported that nurses must provide holistic, patient-centered care that extends beyond the physical health needs and addresses the social and mental needs of patients and their families.
The push for heightened amiability harkens back to 19th century Canadian physician Sir William Osler, who once said, “It is more important to know what patient has a disease, than what disease the patient has.”2
1Loyola Medicine. (2014, July 22). Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://loyolamedicine.org/newswire/news/emphasizing-compassion-nursing-orientation-leads-fewer-pressure-ulcers-falls
2Compassion and the Art of Family Medicine: From Osler to Oprah. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/405817_2